The only coach who loves la Liga life

A growing and probably quite unhealthy obsession with the concept of Unai Emery caused La Liga Loca to spend Monday musing whether the Valencia manager actually enjoyed his job.

It certainly didn’t look like it during the 2-0 loss to Sevilla, Emery watching Mehmet Topal’s rather harsh sending-off scupper any chance of success in the Sánchez Pizjuán.

Poor Unai spent the rest of the encounter gesticulating, shouting and clutching his slicked-back hair, with every tactical order being cheerfully ignored by players who no doubt thought they knew much better - a traditional trait at the Mestalla club.

The seeds of the notion that life at the east coast club was far from rosy were planted during a press conference after the home draw to Zaragoza, when Emery was bombarded with barbed questions concerning the uselessness of his side. All the Mestalla manager could do was sink further and further into his chair and pray for a sudden anthrax scare to clear the room of haranguing hacks.

The blog then got a-thinkin’ whether any Primera coach enjoys getting up in the morning to face the daily nonsense that is life in la Liga. Pep Guardiola certainly doesn’t seem to.

The Barça boss is becoming crankier by the day, with two lowlights being his meltdown in front of the press - and a popcorn-munching LLL (which didn’t go down well with the Atleti press people, incidentally) - a few minutes after Tomás Ujfalusi’s terrible tackle on Leo Messi and the recent spitting spat with joshing and japing FC Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken.

Although Pep’s Dream Boys are doing just fine in their various competitions, Pep is having to don big Catalan pants and plough through endless debates. Debates over his contract renewal. Debates over whether Real Madrid are better or being helped by the referees. Debates over whether his Barça side are overelaborate or not elaborate enough.

And that’s not even mentioning the institutional civil war going on between the old and new régimes at the club that sees poor Pep being tugged on like Sergio Ramos down at the Buddha Bar.

Spot the difference: Guardiola then and now

During a recent spell when Deportivo couldn’t even score goals never mind win games, notorious doomcloud coach Miguel Angel Lotina admitted that he was so stressed by the sporting situation that he couldn’t sleep and even joked about killing himself.

LLL’s recommendation would have been putting on DVDs of Depor’s recent games as a two-birds-with-one-stone method of solving both the goal-shy tendencies of the team and the manager’s insomnia.

Over at Atlético Madrid, Quique Sánchez Flores must be feeling that the UEFA Cup winning days are a very, very, very long time ago with the Rojiblancos losing to Real Madrid again, lying 12 points off the top of the table already and only managing one point in their five-game ‘Everest’ against Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal and the league leaders.

On Sunday night, the Atleti boss came into the Bernabeu press room looking very Rufete-like, in the sleeping-under-a-hedge sense, and with a voice hoarse from screaming at Simao to actually do something for once.

Getafe’s Míchel and Almería’s Juanma Lillo both share that harrowed ‘borrowed time’ vibe whilst the likes of Miguel Angel Portugal at Racing and José Antonio Camacho at Osasuna know that if they are fired, the eternal merry-go-round of Spanish football will dump them at a club like Betis soon after Christmas.

Jose Mourinho only seems to relish the opportunities that the Real Madrid job offers him of winding up both the press, players and club president.

This leaves just one man who seems to adore every single aspect of his life in la Liga - Joaquín Caparrós. At a youthful 55 years of age, the Athletic Bilbao boss cuts a fantastic figure on the touchlines of Spain, dressed in jeans, T-shirt and bomber jacket screaming like a loon at everyone in sight and truly loving it.

Canal Plus once wired ‘Jokin’, as he is known in the Basque Country, up to a heart monitor during a game - the coach warned that he would break it - and found that it was peaking at an alarming 180 BPM. And that’s even before his excitable press conference performances, wonderfully expressive and erratic with Caparrós gibbering away in his Andalusian accent on every topic thrown at him.

The Athletic Bilbao manager is perhaps the one coach that needs the pressure and stress of a top-flight job in Spain to feel alive. For the rest - and Unai Emery especially - it's hard to see how life in la Liga can be anything other than a torturous Manic Street Preachers song-style slog of suffering.